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Palm Garnet (OS 5) Info

Home | My Handheld Home | PDA Guide | Buying Tips | How-To's | Garnet (OS 5) | Cobalt (OS 6)

Palm Garnet (OS 5) Information

Palm Garnet (OS 5) is the current major version of the Palm OS from PalmSource (the software division of Palm). It was rewritten from the ground up to support the latest ARM-based processors from Motorola, Texas Instruments, and Intel. These processors are 175 MHz and above and are similar to the ones that run Microsoft's Pocket PCs.

Palm OS 5 provides support for high-resolution screens (320x320), improved security, multi-media support and built-in wireless capabilities (802.11b and Bluetooth).

Even though the new devices run processors similar to Pocket PCs, they achieve approximately twice the battery life of the devices running the Microsoft operating system. Palm has also gone on to hint about an Xscale device in 2003 as well, which is the latest processor to hit the Pocket PC scene.

Palm OS 5 only runs on the above ARM processors. It does not run on the current Motorola Dragonball processors (16-33 MHz) that previous Palm models use. This means that it is not possible to update previous models to the new OS.

Palm's plan, however, is that OS 5 will not immediately obsolete the older devices. They have included an emulator in OS 5, called PACE, that will run most older OS 4.x applications (but not all, see below). By doing this, developers can write applications that should be compatible with both OS 5 and previous versions such as OS 4.x. Even their own built-in PIM applications are written this way and not in native ARM code.

Palm OS 5.2 is now out and and is used in palmOne's newer models, like the Tungsten T2. Palm's new Graffiti 2 handwriting recognition system based on CIC's Jot as well as a slew of bug fixes mostly relevant to developers.

Palm OS 5.4 has now been released and rebranded as Palm "Garnet". PalmSource describes it this way:

"Palm OS Garnet builds on the solid foundation of Palm OS 5 and incorporates new built-in technical features such as standard support for a broad range of screen resolutions, dynamic input area, improved network communication, and Bluetooth. Palm OS Garnet is designed to enable licensees to more efficiently bring Palm Powered handhelds and smartphones to market and reduce development costs."

Future of Palm Garnet (OS 5)

Eventhough Palm Cobalt (OS 6) is due to licencees by the end of 2004, Palm is still committed to enhancing Palm Garnet (OS 5) and supporting it even after the release of OS 6. They are hoping someday the price-point of OS 5 devices drops to around $200. Check out our Palm OS 6 page for all the details.

Palm has recently released a Simplified Chinese version of OS 5. Among other things this version provides a virtual (collapsible) Graffiti area to allow for easier input of Chinese characters.

Palm has also announced they will be releasing a special smartphone version next year. There are already OS 5 smartphones out, like the Samsung I500, but a lot of custom development work was needed to the OS. This new version will minimize the needed customization and thus reduce the cost. See our Smartphone page for the I500 and other devices.

PalmSource has recently released OS 5.4 to developers and they are also looking to rebrand OS 5 and OS 6 as they will continue to develop both simultaneously.

Palm Garnet (OS 5) Devices

All of the available and announced OS 5 devices are covered on our New Palm OS Models page as well as our Smartphone Models page.

Palm Garnet (OS 5) Software

Our Essential Software section contains lots of applications that are specifically designed for Palm Garnet (OS 5). There are Music Players, Video Players, Useful OS 5 Utilities, and Software Patches (important updates to the OS).

Memory Card Usage

For information on what memory cards work in your Palm device, what you can and can't do with these cards out-of-the-box as well as software to enhance the functionality of your card, see the Memory Card Usage Section of our Tips page.

Palm Garnet (OS 5) Software Development Tools

PalmSource also introduced new software development tools for Palm OS Cobalt and Palm OS Garnet. A technical preview of the new Palm OS Developer Suite is now available to Palm OS developers in the Resource Pavilion in the Developer Zone at www.palmsource.com/developers. The new Palm OS Developer Suite is based on the industry-standard Eclipse environment, an open-source, Integrated Development Environment (IDE) originally developed by IBM that supports software development in a variety of languages, including C, C++, Java and COBOL. The Palm OS Developer Suite provides one set of tools designed to assist Palm OS developers to create and bring to market higher performance wireless, entertainment and enterprise-grade applications that take advantage of the advanced functionality of Palm Powered smart mobile devices. PalmSource and its partners now offer a wide variety of development tools, including Metrowerks CodeWarrior, the Eclipse environment, Borland's tool suite and the Microsoft NET compatible tools from AppForge.

Additional Palm Garnet (OS 5) Tidbits

An interesting article has been released about OS 5 that talks about how Palm will allow the OS to be fairly flexible for its licensees to tweak it for efficiency on certain processors. So there is some concern that this may cause applications to have compatibility problems across different hardware. Most likely, all Palm is trying to say is that they are going to avoid the big Microsoft/Xscale fiasco where Microsoft didn't optimized Pocket PC 2002 for this new processor, thereby nullifying all of Intel's hype about how much of a performance gain it would have.

What's more, The Register at one time had an article describing how Palm floundered around in 2000 trying to decide what the next OS release should be. It was reported that Palm was considering going with Linux for quite some time. This certainly explains all of the craziness that has been going on at Palm with reorganizations and the whole former Be Inc. team taking over executive leadership.

Palm Garnet (OS 5) Discussion Groups

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Published on: 2006-07-04 (103664 reads)
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